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leadership team



As a proud Buffalonian, Joelle Formato is humbled to develop and lead an excellent school for the scholars and families of Buffalo.


Joelle is the Founder and Head of School of Persistence Prep.  She was part of the 2016 Building Excellent Schools Fellowship, a rigorous, yearlong, comprehensive training program in urban charter school creation and leadership. Through this fellowship, Joelle was able to closely analyze the best practices of over fifty high-performing schools around the country.


Joelle began her educational career with Teach for America, where she worked as a 7th and 8th grade math teacher at a turnaround school in Prince George's County, MD.  She later received her Masters in School Counseling from the University at Buffalo, and has worked as both a school counselor and teacher within Buffalo's charter community. 

Through her career, Joelle has amassed a wealth of educational experience, which she will channel into the creation of Persistence Prep. She is excited to build a high-quality school that will develop Buffalo's next generation of leaders. 

A California native, Adria Sortino moved to Buffalo in 2000 where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Buffalo State College.

Adria began her career as an Elementary School teacher in the city of Buffalo, while obtaining her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She spent many years teaching at various schools in Buffalo and also worked as a Holy Cross Head Start teacher.

More recently, Adria worked as the Senior Program Director at the Independent Health Family Branch YMCA where she managed and developed dynamic age appropriate programming in after school, preschool and summer camp programs. Adria ensured all childcare programs were of the highest quality and expanded program growth within the community with strategic and operating plans. Her leadership and experience in budget management led to the successes of exceeding revenue and bottom line targets on both a monthly and yearly basis.

Adria is excited to return to a school setting, and bring her operational expertise to the Persistence Prep Founding Team. 



dean of culture

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JoAnna Wingo

Mrs. Wingo has over a decade of work experience focused on the relational and developmental component of education with students from diverse backgrounds. Her passion for education has always been to assist children and families in the community by providing them with the necessary resources needed to grow and be successful both in the home and in their schools.


Her personal belief is that educators have a responsibility to the community to establish partnerships and relationships between the school and family that will provide access to opportunity and to edify and enhance their quality of life. As a result, she has developed an adeptness in creating and developing a culture and environment of well-rounded and hands-on-learning lessons and activities that stimulate and promote interest among young scholars. Mrs.Wingo's dedication to student academic achievement, family, and quality education for all youth is recognized as an asset to her community.

Mrs. Wingo is excited to be a part of the Persistence Team and looks forward to establishing and leading school-wide systems and programs for behavior management, character development, and education, and supports for student behavior.

director of special education & scholar supports

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Jasmine Mungo, a Washington D.C native, moved to Buffalo, NY to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies at Canisius College. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Jasmine then furthered her education by completing two Master of Science degrees, one in Education and the other in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.


In alignment with her passion for promoting social justice and academic opportunities for all, Jasmine became certified in special education. Jasmine began her career in education teaching 3rd grade, but as of recent years, she has primarily taught high school students in grades 9-12.


As the Scholar Support Coordinator, Jasmine is committed to ensuring all students in need of additional services to support them within the classroom are identified, assessed, and fully provided with the academic accommodations that will promote their success within the classroom.


Jasmine’s passion for children and education is deeply rooted and paired with her belief that a quality education can provide endless opportunities for children to recognize, develop, and utilize their strengths to not only positively impact themselves, but their families and surrounding communities as well.


Jasmine is excited to be a Founder at Persistence Prep working with our Founding scholars, leadership, and instructional team!

director of
curriculum &Instruction


As a prideful Buffalonian, Diina completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Canisius College. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree in Literacy. Diina then went on to also receive her Administrative Degree from Canisius College.

Diina has over 20 years of experience in education. She has spent much of her professional career working with elementary and middle school students. Diina developed her teaching skills over 10 years as both an intervention specialist and a classroom teacher. Diina began to work in leadership and take on the role of Instructional Coaching and Curriculum Development. Diina then spent time as an Assistant Principal.

Diina’s decision to become part of a leadership team came from a strong desire to make a positive impact on an entire school community. As the Director of Curriculum, Diina plans to work diligently with the faculty and staff to carry out the vision and mission of Persistence Prep Academy. Diina believes that as a school, we play a fundamental role in positioning students for future success. She is committed to working closely with teachers, parents, and community members to ensure our children achieve their full potential and are prepared for their next phase of their educational career.

Diina is excited to be part of the Persistence Prep family and begin building relationships with staff, students, and families.

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